Married. Four kids. Two dogs. Wife. Not in that order.

Nov 152011

This is for the carto heads amongst you.

An interesting infographic cum piece of fun about map projections from xkcd (yes! map projections can be fun!):

What’s that? You think I don’t like the Peters map because I’m uncomfortable with having my cultural

assumptions challenged? Are you sure you’re not … ::puts on sunglasses:: … projecting?”

 November 15, 2011  Posted by at 8:50 am Misc. 2 Responses »
Aug 222011

GeoSciTeach Have placed QR codes for plants around Kew Gardens. They provide the context of plants and connections between plants. The phone app was trialed. Students felt ‘freed’ to explore the learning themselves. Teachers seem very keen in exploring innovations and apps. http://geosciteach.wordpress.com/2011/06/22/thinking-about-the-use-of-app-in-field-work/

Nature Locator (horse chestnet leaf disease) There were some troulbes/delays with the Apple App Store relatiing to being a university not an individual The Apple App Store take 2-3 weeks for approval, whereas Android market can be released right away (this was known, and so the Android version was uploaded when the iPhone app had been approved) Screenshots are available http://naturelocator.ilrt.bris.ac.uk/2011/05/31/visuals-from-the-app/ Good success with over 3000 submissions of images/reports. Very few (less than 20?) inappropriate reports. Great geographic distribution (across the UK). http://naturelocator.ilrt.bris.ac.uk/2011/07/19/300-submissions-and-climbing/

IGIBS Datasets considered. Thoughts about which WMS software to use, and patches made to be INSPIRE compliant. http://igibs.blogs.edina.ac.uk/2011/06/04/comparing-geoserver-mapserver-in-terms-of-inspire-compliance/ They have lots of users, that will be both providers and condumers of data, to use as case studies for the work. There’s lots of data to preserve. They’re making it easier to find data.

STEEV Decided that visualising at house-level is too deatiled to offer any meaningful representation Decided to additionally create a REST API, so the view state can be returned to. Will be discussing the implementation of the framework 19th Sep. Mock-ups (pretend screenshots) are available http://steev.blogs.edina.ac.uk/2011/06/20/evolution-of-an-interface/

ELO Geo Have been learning a lot about management tools available to use, especially some created/provided by JISC that they didn’t find straight away. E.g. Jorum and JISCMail. Repositry has been launched, and following OSGIS conference some lessons/information has been added to it. http://elogeo.blogspot.com/2011/06/elogeo-at-open-source-gis-conference.html

Pelagios Lots of discussions in their big team of thedata mappings and ontologies, making sure they get it right. Claros joined Pelagious and added data. http://pelagios-project.blogspot.com/2011/06/claros-joins-pelagios-project.html The Pelagious Graph Explorer now has a live demo. Very good for exploring the data and an intuative interface. http://pelagios-project.blogspot.com/2011/08/pelagios-graph-explorer-live-demo.html

xEvents Have gone through lots of code and database design thoughts. Blog is very much a view of their technical work at the moment and why they are writing patches and modules for the libraries/frameworks they use (though the, very technical, ‘how’ is written up in another blog that gets linked to). No demo or screenshots yet.

GeoCrimeData They’ll be presenting their work so far at a number of conferences in September. http://geocrimedata.blogspot.com/2011/06/forthcoming-conference-presentations.html Source code has been released for the tool that calculates the Mean Path Depth of each road in an area (using OpenStreetMap road data). This can be used to show an estimated traffic value for each road. It’s not directly crime data, but can be useful to see along side and the dataset/tool may be useful in a similar way to other projects and evaluations.

G3: Bridging the Gap Presented at State of the Map EU (OpenStreetMap) and met the OSM GeoWeb community. The OpenStreetMap community were very impressed with their work, especially the Potlatch(an OSM editor) evaluations through user studies they had done. Some recomendations for improvements have now been implemented and others are more likely to now that the research supports the improvements happening.

U-Geo Datasets and their unit size have been reviewed. Mapping of UKDA to INSPIRE, and GEMINI to DDI 2.1 has been completed.

GEMMA They’re in the process of creating iPhone and Android apps. Combinging existing CASA products: Survey Mapper, OSM Feature Highlighter, MapTube Presented at State of the Map EU (OpenStreetMap). SurveyMapper could provide lots of helpful information very easily (a survey, but combined with locations) such as what is the geographic distribution of people wanting to buy Olympic tickets. Unfortunatly noe of the surveys are getting near enough responses for observations to be made.

JISC GECO We held our first event on Open Source Geo and Health this month and are now planning follow up activities with those who attended. We are also putting together future events around geo so do let us know if you would like to be involved. A new mailing list has also been set up this month for discussion around geo, sign up here.

 August 22, 2011  Posted by at 7:45 am 15/10 Projects Comments Off on #jiscGEO Projects August Update
Aug 192011

Whilst it has been clearly established that under the INSPIRE Regulations as enacted in the UK, universities are considered ‘public authorities’ and hence fall under the scope of the INSPIRE Directive, there remains the need for clarity on interpreting ‘public task’.

Clause 5. 1 of the Scottish  Regulations (and same applies to rest of the UK) state:

"Scope of application of the Regulations: spatial data sets and spatial data services
5.—(1) In so far as a provision of these Regulations concerns a spatial data set
 for which a Scottish public authority is responsible, that provision applies in
 relation to that spatial data set only if that data set is held— 
(a) by a Scottish public authority which has produced or received that data set,
 or manages or updates that data set, within the scope of its public tasks; or 
(b) by another person on behalf of a Scottish public authority which has produced
 or received that data set, or managed or updated that data set, within the scope 
of that authority’s public tasks." [our emphases]

So, the big question is – do universities need to comply to the INSPIRE Regulations? Being, as they are, defined as public authorities the impulse is to say ‘yes’, however the interpretation of the Regulations begs another follow on question – is it part of their Public Task?

Naively, one might think this would be a simple yes or no but initial enquries with our legal team suggest that universities do not have a defined public task and hence a clear answer is problematic.

Universities are not necessarily alone in this and in recognition of the ambiguities and lack of clarity around the term ‘public task’ advice has just been released by the National Archives which aims to provide a set of principles in relation to which statements of public task can be assessed..

These principles relate to the definition of “public task” under the re-use regulations rather than INSPIRE, but we anticipate that the principles will be transferred across to INSPIRE.



 August 19, 2011  Posted by at 10:15 am INSPIRE Comments Off on INSPIRE, Universities and ‘Public Task’
May 132011

We are at the very early planning phase for running a ‘geo and cultural sector’ bash and would appreciate hearing from anyone potentially interested in participating/speaking/assisting with such an event.

What sort of things did we have in mind? Well, this type of application of location information to the cultural heritage sector looks to be potentially very exciting and engaging. Not only does it bring our cultural history to life but it provides a more interactive, engaging and ultimately educational approach over the traditional diorama-cum-static display case mentality. Surely culture is about enriching our lives and is a distinctly human trait, as human as an innate binding to place – as Lord Raglan once noted:

“Culture is roughly anything we do and the monkeys don't.”
 May 13, 2011  Posted by at 8:04 am Culture, Misc. Comments Off on Location and Cultural Heritage
Apr 072011

What do you think of when you here ‘GIS’ ? Geek? Difficult, impenetrable software? Or maybe Yosser YouTube Preview Image – after all sometimes working with GIS is a bit like getting head butted!! One of the 15/10 projects has been asking just this question and the word cloud below is a nice summary of word frequency during interviews in which respondents discussed use of GIS.

 April 7, 2011  Posted by at 12:18 pm Humour, JISCG3 Comments Off on Think GIS?
Mar 152011
xEvents will create, maintain, and support two related services: xEvents
and PhilEvents. xEvents will be a hosted online service a la Blogger
to build and maintain subject-centric and geo-aware calendars that
assist academics in keeping tract of talks, conferences and other
events of interest to them in their region or elsewhere. PhilEvents
will be one such service covering events in philosophy. The
overarching aim of this project is to facilitate and improve research
through a better coordination and dissemination of information about
academic events. This will be made possible by enriching conventional
event descriptions with geospatial information and making the
resulting data available both directly to end users through convenient
interfaces and in interoperable formats to enable third-party

GeoSciTeach aims to increase the use of geospatial tools in teacher training
education by designing developing, and evaluating an innovative application,
using the advanced sensing functionality of mobile smartphones. It aims to
provide a customisable template for teachers to develop and orchestrate
geospatial based science learning activities, that can be used within the
teacher-training curriculum, and be made available as a teaching tool with
associated educational resources.

PELAGIOS (Pelagios: Enable Linked Ancient Geodata In Open Systems) is an
international consortium of leading research groups that are trialling a
method of linking open data to enable the discovery and reuse of information
related to ancient places. The core team is made up of the following projects:

•    Google Ancient Places (The Open University, University of Southampton)
•    LUCERO (The Open University)
•    Pleiades (Institute for the Study of the Ancient World, NYU)
•    Perseus Digital Library (Tufts University)
•    Arachne (University of Cologne)
•    SPQR (King's College, London)
•    Digital Memory Engineering (Austrian Institute of Technology)
 March 15, 2011  Posted by at 2:53 pm Misc. Comments Off on Projects Info
Mar 152011

ReadWriteWeb reports that Foursquare are aiming to create a ‘Rosetta Stone’ for location:

The Rosetta Stone

© Hans Hillewaert / CC-BY-SA-3.0

"As location-based services continue to spring up, it's becoming increasingly important that these companies have access to correction location data. However, there's no one place where developers can go to access or verify this data, and there's no single database for location-based information.
But Foursquare has just announced an effort to move things in that direction:
a "venue harmonization map"  that it says it hopes can serve as a Rosetta Stone,
of sorts, for  location data.
Part of Foursquare's new initiative involves opening its Venues API and removing
some of the restrictions on access to it. The API will be  available at higher
rate limits, but more importantly, now developers  will be able to search
Foursquare venues and find associated data - such  as tips, photos, and trending
check-in information - without requiring  their end-users to authenticate via
 March 15, 2011  Posted by at 11:14 am Misc. Comments Off on Rosetta Stone for geo?